Born in Prague in 1891, Hans Kohn was the prolific author of numerous erudite and sophisticated works on history, Judaism, and nationalism. His life, chronicled in a recent biography by Adi Gordon, can be understood as a series of disillusionments: in his youth he was an active Zionist; he later became a pacifist; by 1929 he rejected Zionism altogether, moving to the U.S., where he became a major figure in the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. At the beginning of World War II, he abandoned pacifism (but not anti-Zionism) and later became a cold warrior. He died in 1971, disillusioned with America’s conduct of the Vietnam war. Allan Arkush, while praising Gordon’s work, questions his conclusion that there is much to learn from Kohn’s “Sisyphean struggle with nationalism”:
An Austrian-Jewish Intellectual’s Peripatetic Journey
The Woman behind a Notorious Suicide Bombing Walks Free. Will America See That She Is Punished?
On August 9, 2001, Ahlam Tamimi and Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri traveled from the West Bank to Jerusalem, where Masri detonated himself in a Sbarro’s pizzeria, killing seven children and eight adults, and injuring scores. When the two passed through an Israeli checkpoint earlier that day, they appeared to be a young couple; had Masri been alone, police almost certainly would have stopped him and discovered the deadly bomb in his guitar case. Tamimi was arrested shortly thereafter and sentenced to life in prison. Ten years later, she was among the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. She now resides in Jordan.